The news that Central Coast Section Open Division I champion Menlo-Atherton will have to travel all the way to Eureka for its NorCal regional 3AA bowl game -- while Wilcox, the team M-A beat, is getting a home game -- outraged many followers of the program as well as other observers of California prep football.
But Menlo-Atherton coach Adhir Ravipati immediately turned his focus to preparing to play a 12-0 Eureka team.
“It really didn’t make sense, but we’re blessed to be in this situation, to be in a NorCal game,’’ Ravipati said. “I’ll let other people deal with the details of where we’re going to play.’’
In its bid to host the game M-A let the CIF know that the locker rooms at the school were under construction.
“I told them if that was a deal-breaker could we host at a different site,’’ M-A athletic director Paul Snow said. “They said I could put in a request for another site, but it was always our number one priority to host at M-A and not at an alternate site.’’
Instead the CIF awarded the home game to Eureka at Eureka High. A 12-0 Las Lomas team played there Saturday night and lost 21-0 on a field Las Lomas coach Doug Longero described as unplayable.
“We were honest about our locker rooms,’’ Snow said. “I guess Eureka wasn’t so honest about the condition of their field.’’
The CIF has been informed of the condition of the field at Eureka High and a search is underway to locate an alternate site in the Eureka area.
“They’re looking into it and said they’ll have an answer by Tuesday,’’ said Snow, who has made inquiries as to whether Foothill College would be available should a suitable site not be found in Eureka, and also as to whether Foothill would be available the following weekend.
If M-A defeats Eureka the Bears would host a state championship game the Dec. 14-15 weekend against Lincoln of San Diego, which has already been determined as the Southern California 3AA representative.
That Eureka is in the playoffs at all is due to the Loggers winning a coin flip with Cardinal Newman to be the North Coast Section’s Division III representative. The NCS is sending only three teams out of its allotted six slots -- De La Salle and Liberty from its four-team Open Division and Eureka from Division III.
The teams in the Division II, IV and V finals all elected to pass up the state playoffs rather than engage in a coin flip, the method the NCS devised to determine its NorCal representatives after its playoffs were delayed due to the Butte County fires.
As the result of the NCS sending three teams rather than six there are three NorCal divisions with only one team in them. Those teams have byes next weekend and will be sent directly to a state championship game.